What is everyday creativity? A capacity, a strategy, a process, all of these. It is an ability that is intimately woven into our daily lives and our personalities, one that we use from hour to hour; yet it remains, for most of us, underdeveloped and, unfortunately, underacknowledged. Writes editor and leading creativity researcher Ruth Richards, "Everyday creativity is about everyone, throughout our lives, and fundamental to our very survival. It is how we find our lost child, get enough to eat, make our way in a new place and culture...With our everyday creativity, we adapt flexibly, we improvise, we try different options, whether we are raising a child, counseling a friend, fixing our home, or planning a fundraising event."
In this provocative collection of essays, an interdisciplinary group of eminent thinkers and writers offer their thoughts on how embracing creativity--tapping into the "originality of everyday life"--can lead to improved physical and mental health, to new ways of thinking, of experiencing the world and ourselves. They show how creativity can refine our views of human nature at an individual and societal level and, ultimately, change our paradigms for survival--and for flourishing--in a world fraught with urgent challenges. Neither a dry treatise nor a manual, this anthology draws upon the latest research in the area to present a lively examination of the phenomenon and process of everyday creativity and its far-reaching ramifications for self, culture, history, society, politics, and humankind's future.
Part I looks at creativity and individuals--our well-being, potential for new and transformative understandings, and openings to richness, immediacy, and profundity of experience. Part II involves social creativity--including issues of complexity, collaboration, contextual relativity, inclusiveness, and creative systems evolving from the ground up (vs. more hierarchical models). Part III presents a detailed and multilayered discussion of 12 potential benefits of living more creatively.
About the Author
Ruth Richards, MD, PhD, is a board certified psychiatrist and educational psychologist. She is a professor of psychology at Saybrook Graduate School in San Francisco, California; a research affiliate at McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts (psychiatric affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital); and a lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. For many years, Dr. Richards has studied everyday creativity in clinical and educational settings and has published on creativity and social action as well as spiritual development. She is the principal author of The Lifetime Creativity Scales, which broke new ground as a broad-based assessment of real-life everyday creativity in a general population. With Mark A. Runco, Dr. Richards coedited Eminent Creativity, Everyday Creativity, and Health. She served on the executive advisory board for the Encyclopedia of Creativity and is also on the editorial boards of three journals: The Creativity Research Journal; The Journal of Humanistic Psychology; and Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, the journal for APA Division 10 (Society for the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts), where she is also an at-large member of the executive committee. Personally, Dr. Richards draws, writes, plays three instruments badly, and learns even more about creativity from her teenage daughter.